National Museum’s latest war exhibition features never-before-seen WWII artefacts and meals made with wartime recipes

Photo: National Museum of Singapore, National Heritage Board

The National Museum of Singapore wants you to remember 1942 in its upcoming blockbuster exhibition, which comes 75 years after the fall of Singapore to Japanese forces in World War II. Featuring more than 130 artefacts — some never-before-seen — from 10 overseas museums and institutions, the exhibition offers a new perspective on the events leading up to the fall, as well as its immediate aftermath, through witness accounts and untold stories by war survivors and veterans.

Photo: National Museum of Singapore, National Heritage Board

One highlight is the display of the steel Samurai sword of General Tomoyuki Yamashita, which has been kept in the museum of the American military academy in West Point ever since the Japanese surrender in 1945. Then there’s the 25-Pounder Field Gun, a recent addition to the National Collection, which was used by British and Commonwealth armies during the war.

Lieutenant General Tomoyuki Yamashita’s katana. Photo: National Museum of Singapore, National Heritage Board

Private lenders have also come forward to loan the museum their artefacts, which include the personal diary of Major-General Lim Bo Seng (showcased to the public for the first time), and a prisoner-of-war identification certificate from the Philippines.

Prisoner-of-war identification certificate

The multimedia aspect spotlights vintage films and first-person audio narrations of important international events from 1914 to the late 1930s, with illustrations of war survivors’ stories done up by young Singaporean artists. Other activities include free daily guided tours by volunteers, storytelling sessions for kids, and meals made using wartime recipes by Food For Thought, the restaurant located within the museum’s premises.

And if you’ve got something to say to the war survivors and veterans featured in the exhibition, take some time to pen a letter to them, and the museum will deliver it on your behalf.

Witness to War: Remembering 1942 is on from Sept 23-Mar 25, 2018 at the National Museum of Singapore. Free admission for citizens, PRs and visitors under the age of six.

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